The Authorities edge forward

The Authorities edge forward

Both the Environment Agency and Sedgemoor District Council are edging closer to taking some punitive enforcement action against the site owner and operator at Newbridge Farm.

We understand from one of Sedgemoor District Council’s planning enforcement team that the Council has served an enforcement notice on the site owner, Amber Real Estate Investments, about the breach of Condition 3 relating to the roof colour. As this information has not been placed on SDC’s planning portal, we have made an FOI request for it and are awaiting a response to see the details (but don’t hold your breath - the maximum 20 working days allowed always seems to be the target!).

Not only has the operator been reported for the odour; they have also been causing noise problems in unsociable hours. Now this is being investigated by Sedgemoor District Council as a potential breach of the current Planning Permission’s Condition 6. However, there could be a conflict between the EA’s view of birds being removed in the evenings because the EA has told us that “...it is usual to remove [birds] at night for welfare reasons. [The] Operator apologised for not informing us that it was going to be later than normal due to the processing plant taking birds later on this occasion.” This is at odds with the evidence from many previous crops, which have been removed during the day. The poor birds are being taken on their last journey to be slaughtered so why is animal welfare suddenly so important? It appears to be yet another lame excuse from the operator who seems to be taking the piss out of us all, including the authorities.

In the meantime, Amber Real Estate Investments has, not surprisingly, submitted their appeal against SDC's refusal for them to keep the banned 'goosewing grey' roof colour. The details have not yet appeared on the Planning Inspectorate website but we will be keeping an eye open for when it does and will encourage people to object then.

The Environment agency issued Briefing note #5 on 30 November. It basically says that it is still monitoring the odour issue and has warned the operator, Hook 2 Sisters, that it will consider enforcement action if the latest measures taken by H2S don't work.

It looks like the number of birds will be staying at 178,000 for the next cycle so that the odour survey results can be compared to see if the new measures are working. What these new measures are isn't stated but they must be something that doesn't require planning permission, i.e. something that can be done within the existing structures of the sheds.

So now the number of birds allowed is 178,000. This is a huge drop from the maximum of 312,500 birds permitted (a 43% reduction) and yet the operator, Hook 2 Sisters, contends in the press that “...it’s still business as usual”. Despite the lower number of birds, which brings the number closer to that permitted in the old wooden sheds, locals have experienced long periods of unacceptable levels of odour. People’s complaints about the odour were substantiated by the EA at least once in the last crop cycle and we know that the independent odour survey team certainly found the odour to be very strong. The odour was also detected and reported in the Highbridge area at least twice that we know of. This tends to confirm the risk of the odour issue affecting the proposed new housing development at Brue Farm.

This is all progress and it's thanks in no small part to everyone who has reported the odour and noise issues to the EA's Incident Hotline. However, we find it disappointing that it's taken two years of ongoing breaches of the Environmental Permit to get to a point where the EA is just warning the operator that it is considering enforcement action; how long will it be before enforcement action is actually taken...? 

...in the meantime, we will all continue to suffer the adverse impacts of the odour, noise and visual nuisance from Newbridge Farm . It’s far from fair and we will continue to campaign against it! ✊

Both the Environment Agency and Sedgemoor District Council are edging closer to taking some punitive enforcement action against the site owner and operator at Newbridge Farm.

We understand from one of Sedgemoor District Council’s planning enforcement team that the Council has served an enforcement notice on the site owner, Amber Real Estate Investments, about the breach of Condition 3 relating to the roof colour. As this information has not been placed on SDC’s planning portal, we have made an FOI request for it and are awaiting a response to see the details (but don’t hold your breath - the maximum 20 working days allowed always seems to be the target!).

Not only has the operator been reported for the odour; they have also been causing noise problems in unsociable hours. Now this is being investigated by Sedgemoor District Council as a potential breach of the current Planning Permission’s Condition 6. However, there could be a conflict between the EA’s view of birds being removed in the evenings because the EA has told us that “...it is usual to remove [birds] at night for welfare reasons. [The] Operator apologised for not informing us that it was going to be later than normal due to the processing plant taking birds later on this occasion.” This is at odds with the evidence from many previous crops, which have been removed during the day. The poor birds are being taken on their last journey to be slaughtered so why is animal welfare suddenly so important? It appears to be yet another lame excuse from the operator who seems to be taking the piss out of us all, including the authorities.

In the meantime, Amber Real Estate Investments has, not surprisingly, submitted their appeal against SDC's refusal for them to keep the banned 'goosewing grey' roof colour. The details have not yet appeared on the Planning Inspectorate website but we will be keeping an eye open for when it does and will encourage people to object then.

The Environment agency issued Briefing note #5 on 30 November. It basically says that it is still monitoring the odour issue and has warned the operator, Hook 2 Sisters, that it will consider enforcement action if the latest measures taken by H2S don't work.

It looks like the number of birds will be staying at 178,000 for the next cycle so that the odour survey results can be compared to see if the new measures are working. What these new measures are isn't stated but they must be something that doesn't require planning permission, i.e. something that can be done within the existing structures of the sheds.

So now the number of birds allowed is 178,000. This is a huge drop from the maximum of 312,500 birds permitted (a 43% reduction) and yet the operator, Hook 2 Sisters, contends in the press that “...it’s still business as usual”. Despite the lower number of birds, which brings the number closer to that permitted in the old wooden sheds, locals have experienced long periods of unacceptable levels of odour. People’s complaints about the odour were substantiated by the EA at least once in the last crop cycle and we know that the independent odour survey team certainly found the odour to be very strong. The odour was also detected and reported in the Highbridge area at least twice that we know of. This tends to confirm the risk of the odour issue affecting the proposed new housing development at Brue Farm.

This is all progress and it's thanks in no small part to everyone who has reported the odour and noise issues to the EA's Incident Hotline. However, we find it disappointing that it's taken two years of ongoing breaches of the Environmental Permit to get to a point where the EA is just warning the operator that it is considering enforcement action; how long will it be before enforcement action is actually taken...? 

...in the meantime, we will all continue to suffer the adverse impacts of the odour, noise and visual nuisance from Newbridge Farm . It’s far from fair and we will continue to campaign against it! ✊

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